The Alaska Local Boundary Commission is wrapping up three days of hearings in Petersburg on its petition to incorporate into a borough, bringing along with it an area north to the Juneau borough, south to the Wrangell borough, west to include roughly half of Kupreanof Island and east to the Canadian border.
Juneau’s competing petition calls for annexing some of the territory. Mayor Bruce Botelho this morning (Friday) urged the LBC to at least adjust the boundaries, particularly for resource development. In the past, for example, mining in the area has been staged out of Juneau, and future mines will be too, he says.
“These will be staged out of Juneau by virtue of both the mining support industry and the mining labor-force residents of Juneau, because of Greens Creek and Kensington (mines), he said.
Botelho reminded commissioners that their own regulations require them to look at model borough boundaries within the proposed area.
The LBC several years ago recommended that Juneau annex some of the area Petersburg now wants. Botelho says it did not in deference to the Native corporation, Goldbelt, which owns 30,000 acres in Hobart Bay. Goldbelt says it does not want to be part of any borough.
Botelho told commissioners that Juneau and Petersburg are intertwined and their decision will not change that.
“We’re tied economically, socially and by family,” he said. “And whatever decision you make will not alter that relationship over time.”
The LBC is expected to make a decision later today.